Morris dancers will be taking to the city streets

HEY NONNY NONNY The Victory Morrismen at the May Fayre at St Mary's Church, Fratton. Picture: Allan Hutchings (131234-582)
HEY NONNY NONNY The Victory Morrismen at the May Fayre at St Mary's Church, Fratton. Picture: Allan Hutchings (131234-582)
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MORRIS dancers will be hitting the streets of Portsmouth for a one-off event.

A Day of Dance will see 15 ‘sides’ of morris dancers from the south of England perform all over the city.

The day comes as a preview of an anniversary celebration to be held by Victory Morrismen, who are based in Portsmouth.

The group will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2015 and the Day of Dance will be an early look at the celebrations.

Organised by Mark Taylor of Victory Morrismen, the day will have spectacular shows displaying the different types of morris dancing.

Mark said: ‘Victory Morrismen was founded in 1975 and we have organised a massive event to celebrate our anniversary. The event in July is a way of looking forward to this.

‘It should be a really fun day out for the family.’

The different groups will be performing at Guildhall Square, at 10.30am on July 13, to kick-start the day.

They will be putting on a vibrant demonstration, showcasing the wide variations of costumes and dance styles morris dancing is known for.

In addition to the classic ‘stick and hanky dances’ associated with Cotswold-style morris, groups will be performing Border style, with masked faces and cloth tatter coats.

There will also be the north west style of dancing which originated from Lancashire, along with Appalachian and Garland dancing.

Once each group has performed at Guildhall Square, the morrismen will disperse to the city centre, Southsea and Old Portsmouth.

Mark said: ‘Having all the different groups will show people that morris dancing isn’t just one style.

‘It is a fantastic opportunity to see so many groups in one place because this is fairly rare.

‘But it is always interesting and a great spectacle for the public.

‘The public tends to not know a lot about morris dancing so an event like this really gives them the chance to enjoy themselves and see something new.’

Victory Morrismen has around 40 members and nearly all of them will be a part of the celebrations.

Mark added: ‘We are all really looking forward to it. We love performing.’

The dancers will be in the city centre between midday and 1pm, at Old Portsmouth between 2.30pm and 3.30pm and in Southsea between 4.30pm and 5.30pm.